Thursday 12 December 2013

Humber Royal Hotel & Brasserie, Grimsby: Review

My ex-partner and I have several friends in Grimbsy and environs. We used to stay in national chains, but found them to be extremely noisy. A few years back via we discovered the Humber Royal in Great Coates, a suburb now of Greater Grimsby, and have stayed there four or five times.


From Little Coates Road, the edifice resembles a 1960's telephone exchange. Do not be put off! Inside is a fresh, designer, Scandic interior. There is disabled parking outside the main entrance; although this is generally quickly taken, there are plenty of nearby spaces. There is a separate flat-entry entrance for those in wheelchairs or who have difficulty with steps. There is a lift (elevator) which reaches all floors of the hotel. However most folk seem to take the stairs as the lift does seem to take a long time from being called to opening its doors for entry.

We normally arrive after dark and are warmly welcomed by the ever amiable Kim, but arriving in daylight we met the other friendly receptionist. We quickly fulfilled the bureaucratic requirements and headed off to our room. Unfortunately someone had had a secret smoke and the air smelled stale. There was no issue with swapping accommodation and, whilst we waited for our beds to be made up, were given a complimentary and delicious coffee.

Settling into the room after unpacking, we lay on our respective beds: I caught up with updates on social media; my assistant viewed the news updates. Whilst the wifi at times streamed much faster than in my home, at other times it completely stalled and one had to switch to one of the other of the hotel's three links.

We quickly determined that my assistant's over-bed light-switch was broken.

Our next unwelcome discovery was the shower that squealed in a high-pitched tone whenever switched on to any flow above trickle!

Nonetheless, what is most satisfactory about the rooms at Humber Royal are the panoramic windows that look out onto views of the neighbouring golf-course.

[image description: panorama from one of the windows]



My assistant went off to meet up with his friends for dinner; I had arranged for a couple of my friends to join me in the brasserie for dinner. Surprisingly for a Monday evening in a hotel restaurant every last table was taken during our meal and there was no special event or offer. Furthermore, not all diners were guests of the hotel. Non-guests in attendance does rather suggest the brasserie is a dining experience worth trying.

[image description: the Brasserie; courtesy & © Humber Royal]

Mains (Entrées)

My two fellow diners and myself decided we would forgo starters in order to have afters. My guests both ordered the haddock, coated in what was as light as a tempura yet was traditional batter, with chunky chips and very lightly minted peas. The plate of one guest was vacuum-cleaned; the other's only had the detritus of a substantial dish. I ordered sirloin steak @ £20.95 cooked 'bleu' and requested boiled potatoes instead of the chips that came with the meal. No problem. At the same time I ordered a green salad and made the waitress aware of my food allergies. My smallish steak whilst extremely tasty and succulent was served medium rare on one half and rare on the other: certainly not blue. Additionally, despite my drawing attention to issues, my plate was garnished with foodstuffs which could have had me in hospital. I was offered a free drink for the issues; but I said I would prefer that the chef was reminded to be more careful.


One of my guests selected strawberry cheesecake, the other chocolate torte. Both were well presented. Each was wolfed down! I should say that meant they were delicious. I ordered the cheese slate @ £7.95. I was served three small slices of cheese, three green grapes, four thin stalks of celery, one halved cherry tomato and three slices of stale fruit bread (no butter). The cheese was straight from the refrigerator (as was the bread) and so the flavours could not be fully savoured. It was the only dish I would say was truly poor value for money.


We started with aperitifs in the bar area: one cola; one surprisingly fruity Pinot Grigio; and one Tanqueray & cucumber were ordered from the affable barman. Eventually the order was changed to two wines as they had run out of gin (I don't count Gordon's as it is almost flavourless).

With the meal I requested a bottle of Ponte Prosecco (crisp & fruity with a hint of citrus), but was advised there probably was none left, although there were possibly small bottles available. These drinks took a good fifteen to twenty minutes to arrive with no explanation nor apology for the delay.

At the end of the meal my guests ordered coffee and I a glass of port to accompany my cheese course. Instead I was served a pot of tea and was made to feel it was my fault that there had been a mix-up.


Throughout the meal we were made to wait with no explanations nor apologies from any of the staff. At no point were we asked whether everything was okay or how we were enjoying our meal. However, I noted that others were asked.


Food & drink

The Humber Royal prides itself on sourcing locally, so nigh everything that can be sourced in Lincolnshire is so. I was able to have what I would have consumed chez moi: cereal, fruit and juice; this was eventually followed by coffee and my selection off the cooked breakfast menu - two rashers of perfectly cooked bacon and two spot-on poached eggs. To this point I had kept to my diet. Then I treated myself to a slice of white bread toast with butter and clear honey. Delish! The breakie cannot be faulted.


On the other hand the service was dilatory. The serving staff were more interested in catching up on their very audible gossip. So much so, they forgot to take our drinks and cooked breakfast orders, which on previous occasions had been taken as soon as we had settled down at table. The maître d' did apologise however.

Recommendation and (per a plaque outside the main entrance) some English tourism site both rate Humber Royal as four-star. Compared to Staybridge Suites Newcastle in which we stayed the previous night and also rated four-star there was a great difference, with only the latter seeming to me to be worth the 4*.

Nevertheless, if one finds oneself visiting Greater Grimsby, I do wholeheartedly recommend Humber Royal, if but for the vistas and the food. %)

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